Last Night A Record Changed My Life
Fleetwood he'd heard it all,
One From The
For a couple of years in the '80s I had a jazz-blues music place called Fleetwood's in Washington CS. That's when I first came across Eva. I wanted the club to feature a lot of local players and she was a regular performer. I am always on the look out for new talent, if only because that's how I've kept Fleetwood Mac going for 35 years. She immediately captivated me. She did a lot of covers, yet if was like hearing a song for the first time. She was trying to get a record deal and had a couple of showcases at the club. I think Atlantic came down and looked at her. But she said they didn't get her. She would say, "If they don't want me as I am I don't want to be with them." She terrified them because she refused to do anything that would be against her craft. Times have changed since Fleetwood Mac started. There's a problem with a lot of major record companies" A&R departments. They follow trends and buy up blocks of artists. They get a whole bunch and hope two or three stick. The Ahmet Erteguns of their day were music people through and through. Yes, they were businessmen but they had a real sense of seeing something like when I saw Eva perform. You have to wait for that light to go on. When I first saw Stevie Nicks in the studio I knew she was playing from the heart. Same thing with Peter Green. I think Fleetwood Mac has survived because everyone was truly allowed to be who they were and are.
She was really easy to play with, God knows I'm not a great musician, but I was brought up playing with Peter Green who, like Eva, had such a command over dynamics. We were one hell of a loud band but we had a lot of moments where you could hear a pin drop. We developed this delicate touch, which was an extension of Peter's guitar-playing; playing with Eva was a similar thing.
The stuff on Songbird captures what she could do live. I didn't hear her play the song itself until she'd played at the club a few times. I put together with Atlantic a Rumours tribute thing. We had a whole slew of current acts but I was on the road and didn't have a full focus and Atlantic pitched a young chap [Duncan Sheik] who did this version of Songbird which I liked but it didn't blow me away. Then a young sound guy at the club joined me on the road and brought Eva's version, but it was too late. What a drag, one of my mistakes. Christine's heard it, she loves it.
I also love her version of Over the Rainbow. The sweetest thing you ever heard. I often listen to her music, me and my wife. It brings back a lot of memories. She moved people and just had this presence. She was very shy but, on-stage, as strong as an ox. There's a lot of jazz in her, in the most accessible sense -- people have compared her to Ella Fitzgerald. She was a great interpreter of songs. She wrote, but she liked grabbing other people's songs. She was an interpreter of the highest calibre, a brave place to go. That's part of the reason why people got frightened. They'd think, She doesn't do all her own stuff. What were they talking about? A song's a song;s a song.
She died of cancer. Gone. Just like that. She was gone within months. Would she have been a star? I don't know. All one can assume is that someone would have noticed her. I know Bonnie Raitt and for years nobody took any notice of this woman. For years. But it's only a matter of time when you're that fucking good and you don't stop before someone notices you.
Last Updated - 31 July 2005